Tsoukernik and Kirk Settle High Stakes Lawsuit Out Of CourtMay 9, 2018 9:29 am
One of the stories to emerge from the 2017 World Series of Poker had nothing to do with winning a coveted gold bracelet, but instead involved a multi-million dollar dispute between King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and Aussie poker pro Matt Kirk, with the latter accusing the former of stiffing him out of $2 million in loans.
Kirk subsequently filed a lawsuit against Tsoukernik in a US court, but in the end it seems as though the men were able to resolve their differences amicably, with a 2+2 forum poster explaining that the men had settled the outstanding matter and were now both on good terms.
$2 Million Dispute
Kirk and Tsoukernik’s dispute dates back to May 2017, when the two men were involved in a high stakes cash poker game at ARIA in Las Vegas. Apparently, Tsoukernik got progressively more drunk throughout their game, and after borrowing $3 million from Kirk to continue playing, ended up losing the lot, with a few days later Tsoukernik paying back just $1 million of that amount.
Kirk subsequently sought legal redress in a Clark County law court in Nevada, with the toing and froing that then occurred including a judge ruling that the verbal gambling debt was nonenforceable, leaving Kirk to pursue a claim for “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment” against Tsoukernik.
After the 2017 WSOP Europe got underway in October at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Tsoukernik didn’t shy away from the negative publicity surrounding the case, though, with the owner filing a countersuit against Kirk for more than $10 million. In his case, Tsoukernik laid the blame for his losses squarely at the feet of the ARIA staff and Kirk, claiming that the former had served him too much alcohol, and the latter had taken advantage of the situation. As Tsoukernik’s countersuit asserted, their client “has been harmed and has suffered, among other things, damages, pain and suffering, humiliation, and emotional distress, in excess of $10 million.”
A few months later, however, the judge dismissed the counterclaim, and ordered Tsoukernik to pay those legal fees Kirk accrued over the dismissed claim. And that was pretty much the last we heard on the case until recently.
PartyPoker Big Game Incentive
It seems as though the PartyPoker LIVE MILLIONS tour played an influential role in helping to settle the outstanding dispute, with Tsoukernik and Kirk motivated to make amends ahead of the Big Game which was scheduled to take part at the Playground Casino in Montreal last month. The game was to be shown both on TV and online, and feature a $100/$200 no-limit hold’em cash game, and a PLO game whose stakes would eventually go as high as $4k/$8k with a $16k straddle.
Both men obviously had an interest in taking part in the action and so, according to the source on 2+2, met in Canada before the Big Game to settle the outstanding issue. As the 2+2 member called Elderstatesman stated in his post:
“Leon invited Matt to Canada so they could clear the air and reach an agreement which they did. People have disagreements all the time I am just glad they have now come to a compromise. Everyone involved in the cash could afford the stakes played and no one is going to be destitute because of it.”
Big Game, Big Wins and Big Losses
Tsoukernik and Kirk took part in several episodes of the Big Game, and while their original dispute was over $2 million, the amount of money they won and lost over the course of the shows dwarfed that sum in comparison. According to reports, Tsoukernik actually ended up winning $3.5 million from his opponents, including taking down a $763,000 pot against Sam Tricket, and another for $770k against Kirk. Meanwhile, Kirk walked away from the Big Game having burned through $4.7 million of his bankroll, and as he commented during the last hand; “Beautiful country but I’ll never be back”.
On the plus side, at least the two players showed that it was still possible to settle money matters without having an attorney present, and that given the right incentive even former foes can sit around the same table and enjoy a nice game of high-stakes poker.
For those interested in seeing one of the highest stakes cash games ever recorded, Joey Ingram posted his analysis of the Big Game on YouTube, with the action available via this link.